“BRAINS ARE NOT ENOUGH”                                 By Pastor Yau

Text: 1 Kings 11:1-8                                                      August 27, 2006.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    A good brain is all we need: One thing I find it hard to understand: why do smart people do not-so-smart things? Time after time I hear stories about people with high IQs, good brains, fall short in the area of moral discernment. Obviously a good brain isn’t enough to keep a person from making bad choices. The belief that “If people have good brains and are better educated, tell them the dangers of doing so and so, they won’t do it and the problems of society will be solved” contradicts with the facts.

2)    A good brain is not enough: Real life experience and the Bible tell us something different. In fact, the smartest man ever lived on planet earth could serve as a poster boy for good brain and bad choices. In the Scripture reference for today, the ancient King Solomon, author of much of the Book of Wisdom, the Proverbs, wrote. “Keep your heart with all diligence” (4:23) and “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding” (14:33) Despite knowing the importance of the heart in regard of wisdom and understanding, King Solomon made bad choices that disobeyed God by marrying foreign women who “turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4). As a result, God torn the kingdom away from him. (v.11) It takes more than a good brain to make good choices.

 

WHY IS GOOD BRAIN NOT ENOUGH?

1)   Good brain is good for learning: People with good brains are good in learning knowledge and making good grades. They have better capacity in knowing, understanding and remembering facts from books, lectures and other sources of knowledge. People with good brains have extra edge in knowing their subjects and making good grades in exams. Many of us who are in the median of brain power usually envy those who have good brains.

2)   Good brain is good for jobs: Those who have good brains usually learn a new job faster, better and bring in more results. They can master new knowledge, techniques faster than others. They have higher degree of ability in integrating knowledge for better results. These people usually get recognition and promotion faster than others. Brains are important in career advancement.

3)   Brains do not connect with morality: Brains are amoral---neutral in moral values. They are neither moral nor immoral. Brains do not have the ability to make moral judgments. Brains are mental power to learn, know, connect, integrate and apply facts. Brains are used to determine correct or incorrect. They can’t make judgment on good or bad and right or wrong. The ability to judge right from wrong, good from bad belongs to moral capacity and moral capacity was given to men by God. Man was created a moral being and has the inborn ability to know right from wrong, good from evil. No amount of brain can do what moral power can do. They are two different areas of ability in man.

4)   Brains have no control on moral issues: When man makes moral choices, brains usually have little or no place in the process. The power to make moral or immoral choices is much stronger than brains or intellectual power. It is the will of man that makes choices, not his intellectual power or brain. That is why many men who are well educated with high IQs and highly intelligent made not-so-intelligent choices. It is not the knowledge or facts that lead man to make bad choices. It is his moral power that makes his choices. To have good brain is good but not good enough when it comes to moral issues.

 

A WISE MAN MADE UNWISE CHOICES: The popular saying “As wise as King Solomon” credits him to be the wisest man ever lived. The fact of his seeking wisdom instead of riches pleased God and He granted him both. Many of his words of wisdom were recorded in the Book of Proverbs which have been read, explained, learned and passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years. His ability to observe man and his life had led him to write down so many good teachings and advices millions have learned to love and practice. But this man did what he admonished others not to—he did foolish things like fools and mockers and suffered losses beyond human understanding. Here we see:

1)     He chose a wrong life direction: If Solomon had followed his sense of responsibility of being the king of God’s people when he sought wisdom to rule over his kingdom, (1 Kings 3:4-14) he won’t indulge in pleasure that led to his rebellion against God’s commands. (11:1-4) From the day he became king of Israel, God had blessed him with many riches and success. On the heights of his prosperity and success, he forgot his responsibility of being king. When his focus turned from serving the people to serving himself, he embarked on that slippery path of self indulgence that led to his down fall. He traded his kingdom with beautiful women.

2)     He ignored God and His commands: In the early days of Exodus, God had explicitly commanded the people of Israel not to inter-marry with the native people of Canaan for religious purpose. (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3-4) The temptation of marrying people of pagan background has always been a problem for God’s people to remain faithful to the Lord. God knew that women of pagan background will always turn the hearts of God’s people from serving God to either serving idles or to abandon their commitment to God. If the people of Israel need to observe the command of God on this issue, why not the king? Shouldn’t he be the example for others?

3)     He allowed women to take place of God: The Bible says: “He held fast to the women in love.” (11:2) Instead of have God be his focus of love, Solomon allowed women of idle worship countries filled his heart and occupied his love. Anytime God’s people turn their love from God to love of something else, be it women or money or anything else, he is disobeying God and His command. Many Christians who fall in love with non-Christian people with the intention of marriage will argue that they may lead the non-Christian to become Christians. In most cases, the result is just the opposite. Paul has clear commands on this issue. (2 Corinth. 6:14)

4)     He abandoned the legacy of his father: “Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely as David, his father, had done.” (11:6) King David was honored to be the best king Israel ever had. Even the modern day Israel used the Star of David as the symbol of their national flag. David was not a perfect king, but he was a king after God’s heart. He led the people in following God and His laws. God mourned over Solomon for not follow his father’s footsteps. It is a shame to destroy good things others have worked hard to build by our failures.

 

BESIDES GOOD BRAINS:

1)      The value of common-sense:  Not many people are given extra portion of brain to be genius. But we don’t have to be genius to make good choices. One of the best guidelines is to follow common-sense. Common sense is treasures accumulated through centuries by people who lived before us, their experiences and the consequence of that. Too often, people with good brains ignore common sense when they make choices thinking they are exceptional but they are not. If bad choices brought bad consequences to others, their bad choices will bring them terrible consequences also.

2)      The value of following rules: Many people, especially those who think they have bigger brains, use to think that rules were made for others. They think because of their extra smart ability, they can always get away from the consequences of bad choices. Sooner or later the justice of God will catch up with those who think they are above the Law. If someone gets away from the consequence of a bad choice, it is not because of his brain but his luck and lucks can run dry faster than you think.

3)      The value of being responsible: Being responsible is not just good way of life, it is demanded both by God and the society. Jesus explained this clearly in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Society also demands more from those who have bigger brains, occupying higher positions and have more privileges. They supposed to do better on their life, make better decisions give more to others who have less, materially or otherwise. Those who have more brain, higher position and privilege are responsible to themselves and to those who depend on them for leadership, insights and direction. Privilege always comes with responsibility.

4)      The value of respecting God: Pride is a deadly virus for those who have more brain than others. Many of them don’t respect anyone not even God. But the Bible states it clearly, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7) In the Book of Proverbs, there are many admonitions on the benefits of fearing God and obey His commands. Anyone who treats God with contempt will reap his fair share of shame sooner than he thinks.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Use your brain responsibly: Just as if you have a brand new nice convertible and you want to show off a little. You need to be more careful driving a powerful convertible than a conventional sedan. Same reason applies to using your bigger-than-others brain: use it carefully and responsibly so it will benefit you and others rather than hurting someone.

2)     Brains are not everything: When making decisions and choices, a good brain is not enough. There are common sense, rules, moral values and other issues that need to be considered. Be humble to follow them instead of just your brain. Good choices take more than just being smart.

3)     God is bigger than your brain: I am talking about God and He is certainly much bigger than any human brain. He knows much better, sees much further and can do much more than anyone of us can. Consult Him, pray to Him, asking for His direction before a major decision is made and you will be in much safer position.